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Sally’s mother should refrain from buying bottled water for a variety of reasons which were put forward by Jane her daughter’s room mate. First of all Jane being an environmental studies student major is in a good position to argue for the merits or demerits of bottled and tap water. Thus she is an authority in changing the beliefs of Sally’s mother concerning the safety of bottled water as compared to tap water.

As Jane points out tap water is usually held up to the rigorous safety standards of the FDA as opposed to about 60-70% of bottled water which is unregulated by any body. Water bottles which are made of plastic also pose a very real danger to the environment as they are non biodegradable. Most people do not also recycle water bottles and this result to them ending up in landfills which are getting filled up very fast. The burning up of the trash in landfills also results in toxic fumes being released into the atmosphere further depleting the ozone layer. A last but very important reason for not using bottled water is that bottled water is usually extracted from aquifers at unsustainable rates. Water in these aquifers has been proven to be running low and scientists assert that once an aquifer is polluted or emptied its restoration is impossible (Golub, 78-90). Therefore the use of bottled water is more likely to lead to more water shortages in future and hence should be avoided.

1. There are a variety of ways through which people can be made more conscious of the issues concerning the use of bottled water. For many people the consumption of bottled water is due to the lack of what effects this consumption has. They lack proper information as regards the negative impact bottled water use has on the environment.

People need to be empowered to make choices which are more responsible, through education of the populace on the reality of recycling. It is a feeling of some of the consumers that if the bottles of water being purchased have been recycled then the effect of environmental pollution has been reduced to a great extent. While this is quite reasonable and true in an ideal situation in reality 80% is not recycled.

There is also a misguided conception on the part of many people that once a bottle is sent to the recycling plant, it will be remodeled to a new or identical container which can then be subsequently recycled all over. However this is not the case as most recycled [plastic is turned into a new form which is normally not recyclable for instance the bumpers of parking lots or plastic lumber (Golub, 198-210). The reduction of pollution therefore is not as much as would have been hoped.

It is important to avail this information to people if they are to change their consumption habits. Of great importance is the targeting of the population with the highest consumption of bottled water. Such information can be availed by use of workshops and seminars in addition to posters and billboards.

2. Many statistics are indicating that if consumption of bottled water will continue to rise at the rate it has been growing for the last 30-40 year, the effects this will have on the environment will be unimaginable. In half a decade since 1999-2004, the global water use has more than doubled. Estimates approximate that 41billion liters were expected to be consumed in 2004. If the consumption is to increase by 100% every half decade, t would entail that 82billion liters would be consumed in 2009, which would increase to 328 billion by 2019(Bottled Water Facts).  Since the proportion of water that is used in the course of production as compared to the end product is 6: 7: 1, it is not hard to conclude that water the human race’s most precious natural resource is threatened.

The increase in the consumption of bottled water increases the pollution in the atmosphere. An estimated 81grams of fuel most of which is fossil fuel is needed to make one bottle of water. This is in addition to the pollution that results from costs of transport, and other related costs makes the total fossil fuel used to be about 153grams per bottle along the production line (Potera, 231-43). If the current demand for bottled water continues to rise at the current rate, soon all the landfills will be full and all the ozone layer will be gone leading to more heating and more evaporation hence more water loss.

3. According to some people bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water. Most of this belief is as a result of the propaganda that is propagated by the bottled water companies. The main difference between tap water and bottled water is mainly that bottle water is mainly from underground sources while tap water is usually obtained from rivers and other bodies of moving water.

Bottled water is not safer or healthier than tap water as it does not usually undergo the rigorous testing standards of the FDA to ascertain its suitability for domestic use. Tap water which is usually under the municipal authorities is usually regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency which is makes sure that water is supplied to citizens is safe from natural and artificial contaminants. According to statistics, 25-60% of bottle water is obtained from tap water and is therefore safe for drinking and domestic usage as it has been chlorinated. Bottled water that is not obtained from municipal sources is however not that safe or healthy. Producers of this bottled water usually add artificial flavorings to make the water have a unique flavor. Bottled water has been found to in some instances contain certain bacteria such as Salmonalla and Shigella which pose great risk to human health. Protozoa and other organisms found in untreated water may threaten the lives of people whose immunity levels are low such as children and the elderly (Bottled Water Facts).  There is some bottled water which is however beneficial to human health for instance purified water which has been deionized, distilled and filtered and contains naturally occurring minerals.

4. Waste management has clearly become a major issue in the world today with plastics filling up landfills by the minute. The plastic bottles which are churned out by the water bottlers and subsequently dumped in the landfills have only exacerbated the problem. The sheer number of plastic bottles requires a lot of fossil fuel consumption during manufacture and transportation leading to even further environmental damage.

In this regard a raft of measure have been put forth to deal with the menace of water bottle upon the environment. It has been proposed that water bottles should be collected, washed and reused in order to reduce their negative environmental effects. Another suggestion would be for the water bottling companies to make use of bottling facilities which can be obtained locally so as to save on transport costs. Another suggestion for the water bottling problems would be the sensitization of the public on the negative effects of water bottles and bottled water on the environment. The last suggestion is the banning of bottled water in small containers. Governments should set up policies such as restricting the production of bottled water to 20 liter containers. This would help in reducing bottle production costs and would make the reusability of the bottles more likely by household due to their size which increases utility.

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